Communal Lakeside Vacation House in Ontario

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April 19, 2012
Originally published in The Now 99
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  • 
  For Karina Inzunza, Graham Barker, Melana Janzen, and John McMinn (pictured left to right), a shared vacation home on Georgian Bay was the perfect opportunity to pool resources, split costs, and create an extended family unit.

    For Karina Inzunza, Graham Barker, Melana Janzen, and John McMinn (pictured left to right), a shared vacation home on Georgian Bay was the perfect opportunity to pool resources, split costs, and create an extended family unit.

  • 
  The vacation complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.

    The vacation complex is designed to promote an easy flow between the two families' spaces, which include guest cabins and a shared porch for hanging out and eating.

  • 
  The large wraparound porch links the two main houses and two guest cabins, and is the site of many impromptu shared meals.

    The large wraparound porch links the two main houses and two guest cabins, and is the site of many impromptu shared meals.

  • 
  Two-year-old Annika and five-year-old Soren make music on the "nap swing," a popular hangout spot for kids and adults alike.

    Two-year-old Annika and five-year-old Soren make music on the "nap swing," a popular hangout spot for kids and adults alike.

  • 
  McMinn, an architect, helps Soren construct a TinkerToy tower. The cowhide rug is from Perfect Leather Goods, and the Wassily Chair is by Marcel Breuer for Knoll.

    McMinn, an architect, helps Soren construct a TinkerToy tower. The cowhide rug is from Perfect Leather Goods, and the Wassily Chair is by Marcel Breuer for Knoll.

  • 
  A view of the exterior of the structure, showing the two families' separate living spaces anchored by a single broad porch.

    A view of the exterior of the structure, showing the two families' separate living spaces anchored by a single broad porch.

  • 
  Barker, a software executive and former professional drummer, describes the challenge of the project as such: "It’s the expression of two commingling family structures, with respect for the need for individuality at times."

    Barker, a software executive and former professional drummer, describes the challenge of the project as such: "It’s the expression of two commingling family structures, with respect for the need for individuality at times."

  • 
  As shown here, the orientation of the two houses provides both privacy and occasional moments of permeability; a peek through the window above the master bed reveals neighbors across the way.

    As shown here, the orientation of the two houses provides both privacy and occasional moments of permeability; a peek through the window above the master bed reveals neighbors across the way.

  • 
  The structures share a solar panel, but the families control their own home's heat level with a wood-burning stove.

    The structures share a solar panel, but the families control their own home's heat level with a wood-burning stove.

  • 
  Soren and Annika share a lofted bedroom and a pair of bunks. In Barker and Inzunza's house, this space is used as an office and music room.

    Soren and Annika share a lofted bedroom and a pair of bunks. In Barker and Inzunza's house, this space is used as an office and music room.

  • 
  McMinn and Janzen's kitchen opens onto a double-height living and dining area.

    McMinn and Janzen's kitchen opens onto a double-height living and dining area.

  • 
  In addition to spaces for dining and napping, the porch shelters a kayak and this hanging bench-cum-balance beam made of salvaged tree trunks.

    In addition to spaces for dining and napping, the porch shelters a kayak and this hanging bench-cum-balance beam made of salvaged tree trunks.

  • 
  What else is the porch good for? Tricycle races, of course.

    What else is the porch good for? Tricycle races, of course.

  • 
  Here, a floor plan of the shared structure, called the CP Harbour House, which was designed by architects (and residents) Melana Janzen and John McMinn.

    Here, a floor plan of the shared structure, called the CP Harbour House, which was designed by architects (and residents) Melana Janzen and John McMinn.

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